Vegetable Paella Recipe

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KEY POINTS
 Preparation Time:  Cooking Time:  
 How Difficult Medium  Freeze?   No
 Servings

4 portions

VEGETABLE PAELLA - COOK'S NOTES
The star of a vegetable paella is the rice, but it is essential that the rice takes on the the flavours of the vegetables, especially the tomatoes, onions and garlic. The simple things in life are always the best and it is well worth while devoting ten or fifteen minutes longer to this paella to cook it at its very best.

Sofrito
To get the most from the tomatoes, garlic and onion, this recipe cooks the tomato and onions for longer than normal. The liquid formed by this cooking is known as the sofrito. It is the base flavour which initially flavours the rice and is a key element of a good paella. In this vegetable paella recipe we are going to concentrate the sofrito because it will be the key flavour element to the rice.

For a sofrito to impart maximum flavour to the rice it needs to be cooked slowly at a low temperature and for a long time. And this gives us a problem when cooking paella in the traditional fashion, on a barbecue. Yes, a barbecue provides a very large heat area compared to a cooker hob which is excellent when cooking the rice. But a sofrito is cooked as the first set of ingredients for a paella.

A barbecue is at its hottest at the beginning of the paella cooking process, exactly the time when ideally, it should be at its coolest to cook the sofrito long and slow. So we recommend cooking the sofrito on your cooker hob where you can control the temperature much more accurately compared to on a barbecue.

If you want to continue cooking the vegetable paella on the hob rather than on the barbecue then feel free to do so. A vegetable paella is eminently suitable to be cooked on a cooker hob.

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients

How Much
Paella rice 310g / 11oz
Ripe tomatoes

Approximately 750g / 1lb 11oz

Red pepper (colour optional) 1 medium
Orange pepper (colour optional) 1 medium
Onion 1 medium
Garlic cloves 2
Peas 100g / 3Żoz
Lemons 2
Vegetable stock (fresh or two stock cubes) 550ml / 1 pint
Saffron 2 good pinches
Sweet paprika 1 heaped teaspoon
Rosemary Sprig fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
Parsley (decoration only) 20g packet
Virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper To taste

COOKING EQUIPMENT
A 30cm / 12im paella pan or large frying pan.

PREPARATION
Onion - peel, top and tail and finely chop
Garlic - peel, top and tail and finely chop
Peppers - Remove pith and seeds then roughly slice
Parsley - finely chop
Tomatoes - remove skin and finely chop or blend in a food processor

METHOD
Add the olive oil to the pan on a medium heat and then add the chopped onions. Stir the onions frequently while frying them for five minutes. You want the onions to soften but not go brown so turn down the heat if the onions appear to be over-cooking.

Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, sweet paprika and simmer for 35 minutes. The mixture you now have is the sofrito (base sauce) of our vegetable paella and gives it much of its flavour.
Add the stock and cook for five more minutes with the heat on medium (a slow boil).

Add the paella rice to the pan  and settle it evenly to bottom of the pan with a spoon or spatula.
Add the sliced peppers, peas, rosemary, saffron and eight drops of lemon juice to the paella and cook for 10 minutes on a low boil.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for eight minutes.

Most of the liquid will now have been absorbed. Take the paella off the heat and cover with kitchen paper or similar. Leave it to rest for five minutes.
Sprinkle chopped parsley over the paella and decorate with sliced lemon quarters.
 

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